Tango Argentino > Close Embrace Tango Teachers

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Lois Donnay, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Where do I start here?!

    You may compare them to Carlos Biccai but they aren't dancing like this:

    Their feet are much further apart than Carlos and his partner
    and both Eva and Pablo lean much more. It is an exaggeration
    and my objection is how they achieve that.

    Eva is not on her own axis, her pelvis is tilted back and her internal
    connection from floor to torso is broken. These are not insignificant
    stylistic details but fundamentals affecting how you dance and the
    health of your bodily structure.

    Your dances (at least with me) were not an exaggeration like this,
    more portena if with a little more forward presence as I recall.

    You might say she wouldn't teach this but I suspect strongly
    that she does. Here is a video about which, if posted, I would not have
    felt the need to object so strongly:

    It's from 2009 and dancing to Fresedo's Buscandote.

    Here is how they had changed by 2014:

    Watch her tilt her pelvis back as she embraces,
    she does the same thing at the start of the video posted by Tangobro.
    She looks like she does it on purpose which means that she lets
    her pelvic floor go since her normal stance appears to be
    by no means as exaggerated. She really should know better.

    I'm not looking at the actual steps but how she steps and uses
    her feet is educational - but not in a good way. I'll leave it at that.
    Meanwhile, thanks for responding.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Ok, perhaps you see something I do not. I have danced with Pablo, and did not feel anything weird or different. Eva during the classes explicitly demonstrated several times how she is on her axis and on the floor. I have not danced with her though.
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    How can you know that, John?
  4. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    So to recap, they are Argentine and were trained by Argentines, but apparently they don't meet JohnEm's standards for how Argentines are supposed to dance. Oh I almost forgot, this also reflects poorly on the US. Have I missed anything?
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I think sarcasm is very inappropriately immoderate for a "Moderator".
    I dance 4 months of the year in Buenos Aires,
    mainly and preferably with Portenas rather than tourists.

    People, including dancers taught by Argentines, change
    for commercial gain, taught by Argentines or not.
    I have demonstrated that by video.

    Your comment is hardly constructive, ascribes to me words
    and views unwritten while ignoring the explanation for my criticism.
    I prefer to return to the sensible conversation with Lilly_of_the_valley.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    He has the right to state his informed opinion on particular dancers/instructors. Whether I agree or not, I don't see anything to mock about it.
    There are many Argentines who teach and who, however, dance horribly.
    JohnEm likes this.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    When dancing with Pablo I can understand you not feeling
    anything different or weird, he was dancing with you not Eva.

    They are different to Marco & Maja who both tilt their pelvises
    whilst only Eva does which necessitates Pablo to lean forward more
    in order to counterbalance her. Pablo's body core looks to be better
    than hers although that is an assumption based on Eva's purposely
    contrived body shape in preparation to dance. I would say that she
    is not completely on her own axis dancing in this way since clearly
    she is relying on Pablo for mutual support.

    You mention Eva demonstrating being on her own axis but without
    context I cannot possibly comment further. Maybe she is one of the few
    who can dance in many ways. That would not negate my original
    criticism which was simply that of using a video of bodily stressful,
    exaggerated dancing as an example of close embrace dancing.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    In the first posted video of Eva and Pablo, I have to say my initial reaction was somewhat similar to JohnEm's. In the first 4 seconds when they take their positions, I had to back up several times to watch her lean "into" him, because my initial reaction was "Whoa! Did she just just fall over?".

    She really does plop onto him in what I would call an exaggerated manner, and then moves her feet back even more. And I say that as someone who dances far more forward than most of my community! I don't see how she could possibly be on her own balance at the 4 second mark. I try to teach leaders and followers to be "forward" in a "diagonally upward" manner. The manner in which Eva gets into position (in this video.. I know nothing of them beyond what's posted here) is what I try to get students to NOT do, ie: break at the waist and lean over forward. I have nothing against a counterbalanced style; I enjoy it when done well. But IME, even close embrace is not that counterbalanced in most places, and leaders hate it when they feel any downward weight. So it's important most places I dance to keep the "forward" feeling also "upward" and for the follower to be, if not maintaining her own balance, at least REALLY close to it.

    I'm not going to argue whether it is "natural" or not, or "authentic" or not. I don't recall see that in BA, but it's been awhile since I was there and I haven't spent as much time there as many of you. I will say that in most places I dance in the Eastern US, if a follower assumed that posture with a leader, she most likely wouldn't get asked to dance again. I was trained initially in "milonguero" style and danced it almost exclusively for my early years, and the position they are in right before they start dancing is beyond that, IMO.

    However, the thing that struck me as being the most contrary to what I have always thought was "B'Aries style" dancing (and yes, I know that's not really a thing.. there are multiple styles around BA, but I'm thinking of the typical postures used in very crowded traditional milongas) was the high lift and extension of the open-side arms. Speaking from a totally personal preference, if a leader holds my arm that high, he better be prepared to hold the weight of my arm for 85% of the tanda, cause after about 45 seconds, I'm not going to want to hold it up there myself. I can't see any practical purpose for that kind of arm position except to keep a follower from relying on pushing with her right hand for balance and moves. It seems "for show" IMO, and uncomfortable. I recall a poster awhile back who posted a video or image of that kind of arm as the position he was going for and the board almost universally said "No" to it.

    I will also say that as they dance, they close up the gap at their feet some (easiest to see in the walk around the 1 min mark) and then tilt again for specific moves. So I like them better in motion than in their opening stance.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
    sixela, itwillhappen and JohnEm like this.
  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    First of all, this thread was about teachers who teach close embrace. Unless you've taken classes from them, I don't think you're qualified to express an opinion on their teaching. Maybe that's why you didn't address their teaching, and instead criticized their performance, but I'm not sure.

    2nd, you act as if all Argentines dance the same way, at all milongas. You also don't seem to be aware of the difference in how some people dance in a performance vs at a milonga. You clearly have a preference for how tango should be danced, but that's all it is, your stylistic preference. It doesn't have any more value that any other's preferences. It would be more constructive for you to have simply said you didn't like their performance, rather than the reply you originally made to the post with the video (about what some people in the US call close embrace).

    Maybe at Lo de Celia you won't find couples dancing the way they do, but you might at Sunderland, or even at Canning on certain nights, (and I'm talking about how they dance at a milonga, not how they do a performance).

    Again, none of this has anything to do with their skill as a teacher, though.
  10. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Lo de Celia, as it was before, is no more. Alas.
    I still maintain that Pablo and Eva will teach anything one needs to know to dance tango, properly embraced and everything, everywhere, including the most traditional milongas in BA.
    I don't see any heresy against tango milonguero in their dancing, either, but I understand that it may be in the eye of the beholder.
    dchester likes this.
  11. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Dchester, do read what I have actually written which is not what you say.
    My objection was the use of that video as an example of close embrace dancing
    and my objection still stands. Lilly has written in some support of their teaching
    but I have not criticised it because I cannot possibly know. However I would
    never want to learn from those who dance like that and are prepared to contort
    and stress their bodies in such a way. That disqualifies them as far as I am concerned.

    There are many ways of dancing in BsAs, I prefer one of them, that's my choice.
    But I wrote earlier about somewhere I was yesterday in BsAs. People danced
    how they like and in many variations but mainly sociably and co-operatively
    on the typically busy, sometimes crowded, dancefloor.
    How they dance is their business and my choice is my business.

    Zoopsia has now written a much longer critique with which I totally agree,
    what do you have to say about that?
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    The video is an example of close embrace dancing. It's not done to your preference, but it is close embrace dancing. It also was a performance.

    It can be helpful for people to see them dancing, so they can make a more informed choice. I'll put you in the "no thanks" category.

    It was a performance. No one else was on the dance floor. Lots of performers will exaggerate certain attributes (such as Gavito did), while other performers might fuse in elements from other dances to make it more interesting to people.

    Again, none of that has anything to do with how they dance at a milonga, or how well they teach (which is what the thread was about).
    Mladenac likes this.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Gavito is a prize example of unintentionally malign influence.
    Everyone seemed to want to copy his style which is way beyond
    the competence or the good for amateur social dancers.
    He has had a lasting bad effect on the teaching of tango
    and on the aspirations of adherents. He is not alone of course.

    So why use the video as an example of close embrace dancing
    for people who want to learn? On your basis, the clip should
    be totally irrelevant but nevertheless it was used.

    We don't agree, you don't agree with basis of my objection
    and we are going around in ever decreasing circles.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I've been away. What did I miss? Has it closed? Please explain.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I don't recall the poster saying anything about the video. However, maybe some people have different preferences from yours. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean there was anything wrong with him posting it.
  16. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    As you probably know, Celia, may her soul rest in peace, died a few months ago. Since then there have been a lot of changes to the milonga. Now there is a tango school, classes, performances and raffles. A lot of regulars stopped going. I saw some of them at some other milongas. There are much more tourists, and younger people.

    The DJs still the same, so the music is good. Some regulars still show up, on Saturday and Sunday there are more people, and it is more similar to what it is used to be. The entrance is still cheaper than other places, 50 pesos.

    I went a few times during my recent stay. I was with friends, met other friends there, so I had a reasonably good time. The organizers and staff all were welcoming, nice and attentive.

    It is not bad, just very very different from it used to be. Now it is more like any other place.

    If you wish to follow what is going on, see photos and videos you may do so on Facebook.
  17. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I think that by now it has changed rather more than you think.
    Prices were sharply increased to 80 pesos which seems to have provoked
    somewhat of an exodus of many regulars apparently along with some peculiar
    behaviour by the new owners. Wednesdays have been reduced to 50 pesos
    at least for the moment and the music is still by Dany Borelli.
    Tonight is an homage to Celia organised by two of the regulars.

    Saturday is now run as Milonga en Rojo by Adriana, it will be more than 50 pesos but
    no-one publishes prices any more, they are always changing usually upwards,
    unless it's promotionally low. The DJ is Ricardo Salusky, also originally with Celia's
    chief aid, Erwin Quispe Zapata, but now he seems to gone completely.

    So Erwin seems not to be around any more and the new owners have music by
    Hernan Alvarez Prieto for Fridays and Sundays. They are not advertising
    special prices for any day other than Wednesday so I would expect 80 pesos
    going upwards. I think it's fair to say that its exclusivity is somewhat changed,
    some might say for the better but maybe not the dancing. I can't comment
    further because I stopped going towards the end of my last visit when
    Wednesdays were fading fast and so far haven't returned.
  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Main point being -- it cannot be used as a specific reference anymore. It is nowadays no different from many others.
  19. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    I did not post the video as an example of close embrace dancing. I posted it as an illustration of Pablo & Eva's style of dancing in a performance. From what I've seen of their social dancing, with each other & with other partners, the video shows their dancing in a performance. I posted it in response to Desert Diva's question about them, and to illustrate how their embrace/dance style compared to some of the other NYC area teachers mentioned. Except for Gustavo Rios, none of those mentioned dance in a similar embrace/dance style.

    I don't regard close embrace as a fixed point, but as a range within a continuum of embrace styles. To get back to the OP, maybe Lois Donnay will post vids or name names of dancers that dance in the style of close embrace that she is looking for.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  20. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    OK, since this was my post to begin with, I'm not necessarily asking who dances in "close embrace", or who performs in close embrace, but who teaches how to embrace, and in close - an ability sorely missing in most Americans and Europeans. I just returned from BAires, and women there prefer dancing with Argentines, and say that it is a rare thing to find a non-Argentine who can embrace properly. I find that, too. I think many Argentine men find that foreign women don't get it either, because a lot of men will look at me with wonder after a dance, and ask if I am a PortenĂ£. (I'm not, and really can't hope to pass). Hieu Lee and Ernest Williams are two I can think of here in the USA - who are the other ones? Maybe you can post videos of their students rather than of them dancing themselves. If you get it, who taught you? I learned in the arms of Argentines.

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